Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Is Your CV Perfect?

Job seekers focus their precious time resources way too much on re-working their CVs/resumes.

I have a theory about why this is true.

In the recruitment process, many elements are beyond the control of the job seeker. You send your CV in response to a job listing and then must wait to hear back for an interview request from the employer that in many cases never arrives. You identify and reach out to professionals as a part of your networking efforts, and hope some of them will agree to begin meaningful conversations with you. You go to an interview, and then wait to hear back from the company whether a job offer is on the way.

Sure, you do decide some things, such as which jobs to apply for, which companies/people to target for networking, whether to accept a job offer… , but when you think of your day-to-day job search elements, it is normal for everyone to periodically feel a lack of progress, that your efforts don’t seem to be paying off in the short-run.  This missing control and constant waiting on others is something that can be difficult to live with.

So, to solve this problem, job seekers invariably concentrate on an obvious thing that seems to return control of the process to them, a component of the initial stages of the recruitment process with employers, and oftentimes something that is sent at the early stages once a networking conversation is begun: the CV/resume.

Other reasons for the never-ending focus on the CV:

Job Application Average Response Rate – The average response rate for applications to jobs from Internet sites is 5-10%, meaning that between one out of every 10-20 CVs you send out will generate contact back from the employer. So, the fact is that on average 90-95% of your CVs sent in answer to employment advertisements will enter into the dreaded job seekers’ black hole, never to be heard from again. With such a high rate of “failure”, it is natural to investigate where you can improve, and invariably the focus falls on the CV.
Job Search Professional Marketing Efforts – Professional CV/resume writers are plentiful, taking advantage of the above conditions to send the message that by following their advice for CV creation, your response rate will markedly improve. Or, take a look at the cover of this book:

or of many others you can find in the career section of bookstores. In my opinion, to turn around the book title above, you would be a complete idiot to think there is such a thing as a perfect CV. :>) If you ask 10 experts for their opinion of your CV, you will receive 10 very different responses, so the concept of perfect and or even correct has no place in your thinking.

Am I saying that all CVs will serve the same purpose for you? Certainly not! There are many things you need to take into consideration when creating your CV. My point though, is that the goal should not be to create the “perfect” CV, but rather to create a CV which serves your objectives and gives you a proper chance to get to the next stage in the recruitment process. Sure, this is less sexy and will never be the title of a book, but it is a more effective strategy nonetheless.  And once you have done this, you can confidently move on to other aspects of your job search.

Remember these quick facts of CVs, illustrated by various studies:

• Average Amount of Time CV is Read: 20-30 Seconds
• First Place the Eye Falls on the CV: Top of the First Page

You must keep these factors in mind when building your CV, together with Israel-specific characteristics:

• Israeli CVs are short – one page is great; two pages is maximum
• Israeli CVs are focused/narrow – if you are targeting different professions, you will need to create different versions of your CV

To summarize my outlook in one sentence, much more important than the contents of your CV is whose hands you put it into.

For those of you that want to learn more about how to create a CV for Israel, you are welcome to read the following articles:

A CV/Resume is not an Obituary
CV/Resume – Chronological or Skills Based?
Will Including “Good Team Player” on a CV Help Get You Invited to an Interview?
Women Should Not Include Their Picture on their CV/Resume!
CV/Resume File Type – Is it Important?

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